How Much Does the AC Affect Fuel Mileage

Your car’s air conditioner is an important accessory – it helps keep you and your passengers comfortable and safe during hot weather. However, it’s operated by your engine and places an additional load on your engine when it’s running. That means it increases your fuel expenditure (decreases your fuel economy). How much does it affect your fuel mileage? The answer is: a lot.

How much will my fuel mileage be affected?

Note that there is no single answer to this question, as there are a number of different factors in play. The actual temperature outside will have an effect, as will the size of your engine, the make and model of your car, the condition of your air conditioning system and many others. However, the US EPA notes that running the air conditioner in very hot weather can increase your fuel consumption by up to 25%, and that the effect of using the AC in a hybrid or electric vehicle can be even greater.

The best defense against decreasing fuel economy is actually pretty simple – use your windows at lower speeds, and turn on the air when you hit the highway. Of course, open windows increase drag, which also reduces fuel economy, but the impact isn’t as great as running the AC at lower speeds.

Ensuring that your air conditioning system and engine are properly maintained will also help improve your fuel economy. Regular oil changes and clean air filters can do a great deal to improve your fuel mileage. Ensuring that your AC system has the right level of refrigerant is also an important consideration here.


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Recent Car surges when air conditioning is on Inspection reviews

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Tabitha

17 years of experience
319 reviews
Tabitha
17 years of experience
Mitsubishi Outlander Sport L4-2.4L - Car surges when air conditioning is on - San Diego, California
Friendly and professional highly recommended

James

8 years of experience
128 reviews
James
8 years of experience
BMW 528i L6-3.0L - Car surges when air conditioning is on - Atlanta, Georgia
James was awesome. He has a great personality and was very thorough. He gave me preventive tips as well

Graham

17 years of experience
137 reviews
Graham
17 years of experience
Chevrolet Cruze L4-1.4L Turbo - Car surges when air conditioning is on Inspection - Buffalo Grove, Illinois
It was my first time trying this service and I loved it! It was so easy and convenient. The air conditioning in my car wasn’t working and I had a feeling that I was leaking coolant. With work and getting ready for a wedding, it’s hard to find a day to take off to take my car to a shop and wait for them for half the day or who knows maybe all day. So I tried YourMechanic making the appointment was easy picked a time, Graham was my mechanic, texted me the day before to get more details about what was wrong with my car. I received a text telling me he was on his was and also a gps location of how close he was. Showed up on time, was very knowledgeable and told me what to expect, what he was going to do, told me he would need about an hour but ended up getting it done in 30mins. After that explained the problem with the air conditioning and with the coolant and what I needed to do to fix it. I would recommend this service over the dealers any time!

Rigoberto

11 years of experience
739 reviews
Rigoberto
11 years of experience
Hyundai Entourage V6-3.8L - Car surges when air conditioning is on - Chicago, Illinois
Very helpful and efficient!

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